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Many avid trekkers consider Colombia to be the undicovered treasure of South America. There are few other places in the world where such breathtakingly beautiful scenery can be enjoyed in such solitude and tranquility. Colombia´s top hikes include the 5 day ´Indiana Jones trek´ through the jungle to The Lost City, as well as ´La Vuelta´ of La Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, a national park boasting over 25 snow-capped peaks, dozens of tremendous glaciers and some 40 majestic high-altitude lakes.
While these two treks are certainly some of the best things to do in Colombia and indeed South America, hiking can be enjoyed all over Colombia, whether its beneath the tallest palm trees in the world in the Cocora Valley, through the moon-like canyons of the Tatacoa Desert or through magic colonial towns such of Villa de Leyva and Popayán.
Other popular National parks are Parque Nacional Corales del Rosario (1 hour away from Cartagena) and the Parque Nacional Amacayacu in the Colombian Amazon.
During 2008, Colombia was awarded best mountain destination in the world by The National Geographic Magazine.
Located in the Colombian Amazon.
Accommodation – The Yewae visitor centre is able to accommodate up to 45 people in bunk beds or hammocks. Ask for the Aviatur’s Floating House-Boats, navigate and sleep over on the Amazon River.
Activities – Visits to indigenous communities, canoe trips, trekking, wildlife spotting, handicrafts shopping or take a canopy tour through the trees top
Located nearby Santa Marta.
Accommodation – Ecohabs (cabins) for 2-4 people in Cañaveral or Arrecifes cabins for 6 people. There are camping sites in both locations.
Activities – Beach walking, hiking to ‘Pueblito’(A Coguis indigenous community), relaxing.
Located in the department of La Guajira.
Accommodation – Los Mangles visitor center has 5 cabins as well as hammocks and camping available.
Activities – Bird watching in the estuary, especially the flamingos which give this special park its name, shopping for handicrafts and visits to the Wayúu community.
(UNESCO Seaflower Biosphere Reserve)
Located north-east of Providencia Island, in the Caribbean Sea.
Activities – Snorkelling and scuba diving the coral reefs, sun & beach and cultural immersion.
Located south-east of Cartagena.
Accommodation – There are many Eco–hotels in Baru and the Rosario Islands to choose from such as the beautiful Hotel San Pedro de Majagua located on Isla Grande.
Activities – Snorkelling and scuba diving the coral reefs, sun & beach and flora and fauna sightseeing.
Located in the Colombian Pacific, 330 km from the shore and to the west of Buenaventura port.
Activities – This island is exclusive for certified scuba-diving only and is one of the top dive sites in the world.
Located 2 hours away from the municipality of Guapi.
Accommodation – Rooms 4-8 people.
Activities – Hike the island’s trails, cruise around the island in a motorboat, sun & beach, snorkelling and cultural immersion.
Located in the Boyaca Department 185 km from Bogota.
Accommodation – Furachiogua visitors center, can take up to 47 people with up to 6 people in each room.
Activities – Walking up to Furachiogua visitors center, historical sites and cultural history.
Located in the deparments of Boyaca, Casanare and Arauca.
Accommodation – Camping.
Activities – See spectacular alpine peaks, walking, trekking around lakes and valleys
Located near Manizales City.
Accommodation – El Cisne Visitor center, in bunk beds and camping sites.
Activities – See snowcapped Andean volcanoes and cloud forests.
Located 1 hour away from the city of Popayan.
Activities – A colorful Mountain Park with waterfalls and hot springs.
For any additional information on the Colombia National Parks visit: http://parquesnacionales.gov.co
(Please note that only 12 of the parks provide accommodation and food, with the majority offering camping.)